SocraticGadfly: 6/25/23 - 7/2/23

July 01, 2023

Wrong on Gettysburg and Civil War importance

I get the drama of Gettysburg because it's had more military history books written about it, as well as countless historical novels, and been the crux of Chinese-food filling documentarian Ken Burns' miniseries.

But, contra a canned package page in my nearest formerly daily newspaper, noting the upcoming 160th anniversary of Gettysburg, it was NOT, NOT, NOT the most important battle of the Civil War.

Antietam was.

Without Antietam and its strategic minor victory for the Union, we don't get an Emancipation Proclamation. Now, it is almost certain that Great Britain wouldn't have entered the war without that. But, if Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia get a strategic as well as tactical draw with McClellan, and he uses that to maraude around Maryland and maybe southeastern Pennsylvania for another week or two, the UK surely grants belligerency status to the Confederacy, even if not full diplomatic recognition. (Arguably, by proclaiming a blockade of Southern ports rather than an enforced closure, in the early weeks of his administration, Lincoln himself, with Seward's help, granted some sort of belligerency status, but that's another story.)

Combine this with increased Northern war weariness from continued marauding by Lee, and Lincoln faces pressure to negotiate. And, he's not in a position to release a Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. If he does so in, say, early September after an orderly, non-forced, non-retreating withdrawal by Lee, he's laughed at.


Had whatever orderly or adjutant for Harvey Hill not lost Lee's now-infamous Lost Order, a strategic draw against General The Slows would have been the minimum level of his likely success.

With all that in mind, plus taking the war out of Virginia for another month and replenishing his troops better, Gettysburg probably doesn't happen as it actually did.

Note that Meade wanted to withdraw after July 2. That's one of the reasons he called his council of war, or so it seems clear to me — he was looking for backup to make that call. And, he didn't get it.

Arguably, Gettysburg isn't even No. 2.


Shiloh is.

Shiloh was the first "real" major battle of the war. It showed the level of carnage that could and would be committed by rifled muskets in the hands of troops who by now had a certain degree of training. (This was a lesson that Lee didn't learn from Shiloh and didn't fully learn from his own defense at Antietam, to his own alleged everlasting grief at Gettysburg on July 3. The "oh what fine boys" type exclamations don't all appear to have been written down immediately and they strike me as hagiographic, hence the "alleged.")

Speaking of Lee in another way? While he had been calling for a CSA draft for months, it's quite arguable that Shiloh was the immediate provocation, as the first Confederate draft law was passed by the CSA Congress just a week later.

That, in turn triggered draft resistance acts, the biggest of which, as part of larger Unionism in the Red River counties of North Texas, was the resistance in Cooke County that led to the Great Hanging, the largest single mass lynching in American history; see my highly detailed blog post. The CSA draft also gave the US the room to start its own draft.

Without all of this, general publics North and South don't accept that this is a "total war," either, and with everything that followed for three years after Shiloh.

June 30, 2023

Gay rights, college affirmative action take it in the shorts in favor of "poor, persecuted Christians"

Today, SCOTUS allowed discrimination against gays in the 303 Creative ruling, even with the case almost certainly being based on a fake order, indeed, a fake gay man, for the basis of the complainant's suit. Sotomayor nails it.

In a dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote: “Today, the Court, for the first time in its history, grants a business open to the public a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class.” She was joined by the court’s two other liberals, Justice Elena Kagan and Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.
Sotomayor said that the decision’s logic “cannot be limited to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.” A website designer could refuse to create a wedding website for an interracial couple, a stationer could refuse to sell a birth announcement for a disabled couple, and a large retail store could limit its portrait services to “traditional” families, she wrote.

Exactly right, and that leads to yesterday's ruling, basically gutting affirmative action in college admissions.

What's to stop a new Bob Jones University from refusing to admit Blacks period, and saying that past decisions removing it from federal educational funds was wrong? Especially if it's a religious institution?

By the way, all of this, per the first link, show that the tired old meme of "poor, persecuted Christians" is nothing but Religious Right bullshit. But, going beyond the AP piece at top link, this is nothing new. Hobby Lobby winning its contraceptive lawsuit against Dear Leader show this has been a steady current for 15 years now.

That said, per a National Review piece, on colleges, and Sen. Tim Scott? Why don't you end legacy admissions? Per many leftists, this would also, indirectly, address a class issue. Librulz are on the losing end of this if they don't push for it. (And, at the national level, they won't; another reason I'm a leftist.)

Corey Robin claims 303 Creative was NOT about religion. Oh, in a technical sense, he's right. The plaintiff (besides having a fake basis for the suit) cited Freeze Peach, but it was ultimately free speech in the service of religious issues. Wiki gets that right, Corey. And you apparently don't read analysis of past or present Supreme Court decisions. Shit, your own piece has Smith saying she didn't BELIEVE in gay marriage. In a quote-tweeting, Robin stands by his statement. I referenced the immediately above, plus the Hobby Lobby angle, in a reply.

June 29, 2023

Post-Alabama, could Texas congressional district maps be overturned?

In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling a few weeks ago that Alabama violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act on Congressional redistricting, could recent suits against Texas prevail? The Trib takes a look. There's also timing questions of whether this would be SCOTUS decided before 2024 primary election dates, and if so, with the every-other-year banana republic Lege, if the solution would be a judge's election map for 2024 then the Lege doing a new one for 2026. Given Tex-ass past history, I'm assuming the state hopes to stall out past 2024 and then argue that current maps are a fait accompli so leave them alone.

Texas Progressives talk Paxton, suing, fascism

Off the Kuff looks at the rules adopted by the Senate to govern the Paxton impeachment trial, with a link to my post about it there, or here.

The Supreme Court has said Tex-ass doesn't have standing to sue Ill Eagle Hunter Joe Biden to force him to restore Trump's Title 42. The said reality is that, as a site like Border/Lines said at the time, the Biden Administration's new program is really the same and maybe worse in some ways.

Speaking of suits? The Texas Supremes said ERCOT can't be sued over Winter Storm Uri electric pricing issues, or deaths from power outages, granting it sovereign immunity even though it's not an actual state agency.

Of COURSE Will Hurd is running for prez. Makes an even dozen now, if not more, in the GOP race. And, the Trib shows its Overton Window allegiance by calling him a "moderate." Kuff snarkily says it's all about the books and speaking fees to come.

SocraticGadfly goes to his second blog and looks at the barely contained, if that, issue of fascism in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Big Bend National Park's retiring superintendent talks to the Monthly about the need for more money for the NPS as a whole, for BB in particular, and what he learned in his years there.

"Extreme Heat is Deadlier than Hurricanes, Floods and Tornadoes Combined." Scientific American takes us into the details of that.

The Roman Republic probably didn't salt Carthage, but Golda Meir DID poison Palestinian land.

Washington Monthly citing the Founding Fathers to approve modern work from home has to be one of the dumbest things I've read there and that says a lot.

El Paso Matters talks to local health experts about the effect of the Dobbs ruling, one year later.

Your Local Epidemiologist looks at the same ruling through a scientific lens.

Jef Rouner sees a big Republican-induced brain drain coming.

Therese Odell rages about the obliteration of Turner Classic Movies.

Equality Texas offered tips to celebrate Pride safely.

Trans activist Kai Shappley and her family were forced to relocate from Texas for their safety in the wake of the Lege's anti-trans crusade. She and her mom were featured on the Positively Dreadful podcast to talk about their current situation.

June 28, 2023

Texas history group dust-up heats up

The Texas State Historical Association's battle between wingnuts with allegations of pseudo-wokeness versus people wanting to fully promulgate Texas history has heated up, with Executive Director J.P. Bryan suing the board (which he thinks is too woke) to prevent it from firing him.

The Observer has more, including noting that Bryan is an oil billionaire, which might be of relevance. So too might him calling academics (the battle is about who's an "academic" and Bryan and other Christofascist types [assuming that Bryan travels in the same circles as Tim Dunn] are wrong, and TSHA bylaws make that clear) "leftists" and "Marxists," also not mentioned by the Trib. It goes on to note that Bryan et al are looking to essentially tell a Texas exceptionalist version of Confederate Lost Cause history. Update, July 23: Bryan IS an "Obama is a Muslim" conspiracy theorist.

On paper, to this layperson's eyes, the suit should be a slam-dunk win for the board. But, I forget where I am, Toto. This could get dragged out a couple of years, which would itself be problematic, even if the TSHA board eventually wins. For example, assuming the state is sued over its new school and school library book ratings law, and that too drags out a couple of years, the issues could feed off each other.

Weirdly, the author of the Observer piece simply identifies himself as a professor at a North Texas college, when a 15-second google identifies him at being at Collin College. Is John R. Lundberg worried about being fired, given Collin's past horrendous history on free speech, leading to successful lawsuits against it? (It's interesting to note that it was HISTORY profs, as Lundberg is, who were Collin's top past targets.)

Mike Miles: Dueling viewpoints

So, who is the new head at Houston ISD and former leader of Dallas ISD? Someone who takes "my way or the highway" to an extreme? Someone who says his bottom line is kids and reading and nothing had better stand in his way or he can't do his job? Someone well meaning in that way, but at the same time, can't manage people or who is determined to break a few eggs just to break eggs?

The Trib disagrees with Jim Schutze's guest column in the Chronic about the Dallas ISD accomplishments of Mike Miles as he starts at Houston ISD. That said, to be fair, Schutze only focused on when Miles was there; it's not his fault that money for teachers for aggressive reading immersion programs was cut after he left. The Trib also links to a Snooze article but not to anything that Schutze wrote at the Dallas Observer. Nor does it mention the column by four former HISD board trustees sidelined by the new Texas Education Agency board of managers, the four jointly urging Houston parents and the general community to give Miles a chance. Bryan Flores comes off to me as doing little more than a hatchet job. He's young, going by his Trib profile, so maybe it was just bad rather than deliberate. Or maybe it was just deliberate.

The Monthly weighs in with how people in HISD have called Miles, a biracial Black-Japanese, all but a racist. That said, it also notes, which Schutze didn't, that after he left Dallas, he founded a charter school company. The Monthly notes what neither he nor the Trib notes, namely, that, he's swimming uphill against not just school performance but home life, poverty, etc.

Online news site Houston Landing wonder if Miles' attempts to select the best teachers for the reading immersion work will generate cheating due to the attraction of $20K a year or more in extra pay. And, it cites another sidelined board trustee, Kathy Blueford-Daniels, not one of the four above, expressly wondering about that, as well as how well Miles can fight the family and economic background issues these kids face.

Per Houston Press, Miles has promised bilingual programs won't be eliminated, though the reading immersion is English only.

My thoughts? Being in North Texas, I tracked at least the basics of Miles' career at Dallas ISD, as well as tracking the dueling coverage of it by Schutze and the Dallas Snooze, from my location and media vantage point at the time. Houston's going to be a bigger effort yet, and Miles will — even if he's tempered his management style to some degree — butt heads with activist parent groups and above all with teachers' union leadership. Can, and will, these folks moderate themselves as well?

They'll probably learn they have to. If Miles wants to stay beyond 2026, after all, he'll be retained by a state-appointed board of managers, not an elected school board. In other words, he has a degree of insulation that he didn't in Dallas.


Update, July 28: Miles may be Black-Japanese biracial, and may not be a racist, but closing a number of HISD school libraries and turning them into discipline rooms sends a horrible message; Sly Turner is right to talk about "targeted communities." Even without turning them into "discipline rooms," closing libraries even as the Lege pushes book censorship and many wingnut "community" activists are ready to pile on sends the wrong message — especially if you claim to be about boosting reading.

June 27, 2023

SCOTUS hypocrisy on lawsuits

Remember a year-plus ago, before the Dobbs decision officially overturned Roe, how the Supreme Court let stand through repeated stall-outs the Texas law allowing for citizen abortion enforcement by lawsuit?

This piece, on SCOTUS saying that the feds have broad power to dismiss "qui tam" whistleblower lawsuits, shows the rank hypocrisy of the further-right justices:

A dissent from Justice Clarence Thomas was notable less for its arguments in favor of an alternative reading of the statute – Thomas agreed with Polansky that the government loses its authority to dismiss a suit once it declines to intervene – and more for its broader suggestion that the entire qui tam system may be unconstitutional. While only Thomas wrote in support of his argument about the extent of the government’s authority to dismiss, Justice Brett Kavanaugh issued a concurring opinion, joined by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, in which he agreed with Thomas that “[t]here are substantial arguments that the qui tam device is inconsistent with Article II and that private litigators may not represent the interests of the United States in litigation … the Court should consider the competing arguments on the Article II issues in an appropriate case.”

Emphasis mine.

So, private litigators can't represent the USofA, but CAN represent the Great State of Tex-ass? Got it.

"Vaccinate" against misinformation, part 2; no, "preach" against it

About six months ago, I blogged about how a Nielsen Lab piece piece showing both information and disinformation aren't that powerful crystalized thoughts I had on that subject and on Kevin Kruse's new, US duopoly politics based book. And now, I've had some new thoughts related to that, which show what I mean by the "preach."

Here's a highly condensed version of my own review, followed with new thoughts on why, not just how, that is wrong and what we can do differently:

Myth America: Historians Take On the Biggest Legends and Lies About Our Past

Myth America: Historians Take On the Biggest Legends and Lies About Our Past by Kevin M. Kruse
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Howlers include one from Joshua Zeitz, in his chapter on "The Great Society." He notes that, in her campaign memoir, Hillary Clinton says she came very close to proposing a basic income. "Sure she did," but Zeitz appears to take this claim at face value. In short, he appears to be engaged in the type of "motivated reasoning" that is itself part of the problem, not the solution, when done without recognizing one's own motivated reasoning.

This Smithsonian piece, which looks in-depth at things like people seeing Monticello updated with a detailed history of Thomas Jefferson's enslaving and what slavery was like there, then the vast majority of them not remembering any of this, shows in more detail why you can't "vaccinate" against misinformation. (Thompson has a whole book on the subject, as it turns out, which is great reading.)

Again, it's called "motivated reasoning," generally, a version of "thinking" with your emotions and your ego. If you don't want to accept that Jefferson was a fairly bad enslaver, that Bobby Lee was a harsh slave master, or other similar such things? You won't accept it. It's like the old psychological blind spot of people being told to count the number of basketball passes in a video and getting so focused on this that they ignore the person in a gorilla suit walking through the video. Only in this case, it's a much more willful blind spot, not an "attentional bias." And yes, per the likes of Daniel Wegner, subconscious intentionality is indeed possible.

I totally agree with Laurajane Smith, a professor at Australian National University. Smith, who had done studies on this, says that less than 3 percent of people in such cases have their minds changed by "conventional" new displays.

Solution? Go to those emotions, as noted in Thompson's essay at The Conversation:

Smith, the professor who studies visitor responses to heritage sites, told me that she thinks these sites need to shift their focus from education to emotion. Since research reveals that people aren’t going to historical sites to learn, she believes sites should “provide the resources to allow visitors to work through difficult and challenging emotions in in a way that is constructive.” As an example, Smith pointed to the Immigration Museum of Melbourne, Australia, which uses tools like an interactive simulation of a hate speech incident on a tram to guide visitors into thinking about the experience of discrimination from different points of view. This experience can be uncomfortable, but Smith insists that the heritage is not “cuddly and warm and fuzzy.” What happened in history, and what that should mean to us, is always contested.

And THAT is what I mean by "preach." A direct challenge to the emotions that lie behind motivated reasoning.

Now, how do museums and historic sites DO that? Especially on the budget limits many generally face?

That said, having now read Thompson's book, I post my review.

Smashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of America's Public MonumentsSmashing Statues: The Rise and Fall of America's Public Monuments by Erin L. Thompson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A slim volume, but it touches all the bases it needs to.

Did you think that a lot of Confederate and other offensive statues were permanently — note that word — put on ice after Dylann Roof’s Charleston shootup in 2015? After Heather Heyer was killed at Unite the Right? Even after George Floyd?

Think again, especially in the first two cases. And in all three, especially in many Southern states, state laws override local government and prohibit such statues from being permanently removed without being relocated. Sure, in a New Orleans, the temporary haul-down has been stretched out …. But, still; they’re on deferred adjudication, if you will, and no more.

Many, after the first two instances, and even some after Floyd’s killing, have been moved to other communities, put in cemeteries, donated or sold to folks like the United Daughters of the Confederacy who first erected them, or put in museums — and usually without historic context, which, per an essay by Thompson at The Conversation, usually doesn’t change most people’s minds, anyway, as they “self-inoculate” against any cognitive dissonance.

“Shuffling statues around our cities is like moving an abusive priest to another parish.”

“Taking down a monument doesn’t erase history — but it does remove honor.” (Sic on the em-dash instead of comma.) At this point, Thompson again references the statue of George III toppled in New York City in 1776. It’s who’s writing history.

The irony, or worse, of largely Black Georgia inmates working on Stone Mountain is made even more stark by presidential candidate Slick Willie Clinton speaking in front of a bunch of them in 1992, with picture in the epilogue.

Although this issue in general seems peculiarly American, Thompson also notes in her epilogue East German disputes over a Lenin statue after the fall of the Wall.

The “white guilt” issue should be addressed, and for that, I jump back to a chapter that started with George Floyd, and from there moved to the toppling of a Columbus statue in St. Paul, Minnesota, that had been the site of not just protests but “targeted actions” by Sioux and other American Indians for years.

I quote her quote of Mike Forcia, the Anishinaabe activist who led its takedown:

You weren’t there. You didn’t do it. And I wasn’t there. It didn’t happen to me. Your ancestors were there and they may have done some very awful things to my ancestors, but you didn’t do it. Don’t feel guilty. … But what you have to understand is that you all are still benefiting from those atrocities. And me and my family and my people are still suffering to this day from those atrocities. And that’s what we have to come to terms with.

To me, that sounds so much more nuanced that White professional race hustler Robin D’Angelo.

View all my reviews

June 25, 2023

Analysis: US spin-doctor triumphalism on the MUTINY that failed

I eventually was making so many additions to my post yesterday about Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prizoghin's would-be apparent coup, eventually defused by Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, that I decided I needed a second post, especially as most the updates were based on the theme of this post. And, per Mark Ames, I changed "coup" to "mutiny" and decided to go all-caps to make it clear. (Some MSM is doing the same.) And, Prigozhin has never claimed this was a coup, and it's highly unlikely it was.

Speaking of Ames, go to Updates below, starting with the Radio War Nerd interview with Anatol Lieven. Then note the note about Johnny-come-lately Eric Draitser of Counterpunch Radio after that. Then the butt-hurt silliness of Seymour Hersh after that.

BlueAnon Tweets by the likes of the ever-more-odious Laurence Tribe, citing one of several WaPost op-ed pieces, have now all spun to variations on a theme that was part of the header of the WaPost piece that Tribe Tweeted: "Putin blinked." And, no, I choose not to even bother linking to it.

A. Bullshit. He made a reasonable decision, through Lukashenko, on what to do. He did NOT flee Moscow or anything close to actual "blinking."

Did Russia take serious precautions to stop a coup or coup light, while also working to arrest him before that can happen? Absolutely. Contra Nat-Sec Nutsacks™ leading light Kevin Rothrock, whom I mocked last night both seriously:

and sarcastically:

I didn't think Putin was seriously" panicked, but he was "reasonably" so, and more so with this developing more since last night. Once again, he did not "blink."

As for the details of the agreement? Prigozhin goes into exile in Belarus; troops off hook, can still sign new contracts with Russia. Per Lukashenko, no blood shed in Russia. No matter whether Prigozhin got Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu or Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov sacked or not, it's a reasonable deal under the circumstances.

B. Ergo, this is US-NATO Nat-Sec Nutsack triumphalism, which, since it can't tout a successful coup, can instead spin this to variations on "the end is nigh" for Vladimir V. Putin. I remind these people that James K. Galbraith told them just two months ago that sanctions haven't really hurt Russia.

And, as I said to Tribe, this is the same WaPost that remains unapologetic for its triumphalism of 20 years ago on the op-ed page, when it was one of the top cheerleaders for Shrub Bush's invasion of Iraq. The same holds true for the New York Slimes, which probably has similar on its op-ed page today.

Meanwhile, this Ukraine flag-flyer who I tagged along with Tribe as one of the top respondents to his original tweet hoist themselves by their own petard:

As I responded:


And, "Harvards" like Kimberly St. John and non-prophets not honored in their homelands like Mikhail Gorbachev can lie, and did lie, about what Baker told Gorbachev nearly 25 years ago. Per various past posts, Brookings, Harvard prof Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon (indirectly and more on Twitter) and Anne Applebaum, and Gorbachev himself, among others, lied directly about what Baker actually said.

Said person compounded their wrongs by claiming Gorbachev was not head of the USSR 24 years ago and apparently believing it had already dissolved then, and framing NATO as a "defensive alliance," which might not be totally false, but in the wake of the Balkans wars of the 1990s is not totally true, and is even less true if one looks at the US/quasi-NATO bombing of Libya.

As I also told Ms. Ukraine Congeniality 2023, one can indeed question Putin's competence, both personally and the dynamic duo above, about why they didn't expect this possibility and take better advance preparations. Mark Ames said the other day that, assuming Russia did it, the Dneipro dam destruction was probably the dumbest decision besides Russia entering the war. But, he's just a "tankie," like me, to someone like Adams — and many others, despite Ames making clear that's not the case.

Beyond that, claiming that people like me are victims of propaganda when you probably believe every word uttered in the service of Russiagate is laughable.

I get it. You folks had a wet dream, or more a would-be wet dream that was interrupted by dreamtime coitus interruptus, and now you're spinning.

Also, for the MSM and the Nat-sec Nutsacks? Beyond the spoiled wet dream, think again and offer substance to back up your claims that Putin's edifice has permanently crumbled. Lukashenko was an active intervenor to defuse this. Chinese and Russian foreign policy leaders are still scheduled to meet this week. Ukraine made no major breakthroughs during the brief mutiny time. Per my Galbraith link above, people were claiming sanctions would crush Russia. And they haven't.

As for Prigozhin's future? Yes, it's possible Putin still wants vengeance, and as with Alexander Litvinenko, has a Polonium 210 pellet queued up.

Meanwhile, one of the Nat-sec Nutsacks told on himself and his peers about how crappy the Ukrainian-Zelensky vaunted offensive really is, without thinking about it:

“I honestly think that Wagner probably did more damage to Russian aerospace forces in the past day than the Ukrainian offensive has done in the past three weeks,” Michael Kofman, director of Russia Studies at the CAN research group, said in a podcast.

There you go.


Update one: An unlocked Radio War Nerd interview with Anatol Lieven has him calling more bullshit on the idea that Putin's Russia is about to collapse. Lieven also notes that Prigozhin seemed frustrated that all his previous videos were just not getting Putin's attention. At the same time, as also discussed in his second-latest piece at Quincy, at the end of May, Lieven notes that a proto-succession crisis may be starting to creep over the horizon. From there, on the podcast, Lieven says, siting the Kursk disaster, that Putin doesn't like to appear to be doing things under pressure. So, if that's the case, how long until Shoigu and Gerasimov get sacked? On the war itself, in April, he said the battlefield was already "frozen," due to a mixture of mines and artillery. He adds that the rich in Kiev act as unaffected by the war as the rich in Moscow. Finally, in his latest piece, contra #BlueAnon in the US, and neocons as well, and their equivalents in other NATO countries, he shows that this war shows the power of draftee infantry — and the need for it — and that NATO countries ignore this at their peril. Lieven concludes with the pressure on Zelensky's political future to not give up one inch. RWN host Mark Ames joked sardonically about a Jewish president and a stab in the back.

Joe Costello also briefly riffs on the mutiny, noting an exchange he had with Ames. He, like me, picks up on the parallels with America and Blackwater, while noting, indirectly, that we never had Blackwater patrolling the border with Mexico or making an excursion against "narco-terrorists" there. Indeed, this was playing with fire to use Wagner semi-domestically, but, that's part of how Putin was able to launch this as a "special military operation." 

Update two: James Dorsey, a must-read on Middle East issues, offers some good insights on how the mutiny attempt is playing out more broadly, especially vis-a-vis Chinese plans in Central Asia and worries this might have upset various applecarts, especially dependent on Wagner's post-Prigozhin future outside Russian borders.

Update three: At Counterpunch Radio, Eric Draitser finally weighs in on June 29, kind of an eternity in this world. Judging by the list of topics, he doesn't sound like he has any new insight, for the wait, and that his old insight probably isn't as good as Radio War Nerd. I mean, a week on, his rhetorical question second bullet point, and the expansion of that in his first 30 seconds, without mentioning the word "mutiny"? Indeed, that word is never used in the entire podcast. Halfway in, about "why it ended so soon," Draitser halfway peddles backdoor bank-shotted Nat-sec Nutsack rumors. He is better with rhetorical-question analysis about what could mean for Wagner in specific and Russia in general in Africa.

Update four: Sy Hersh weighs in with something that has even less new analysis of Russia than Draitser, but with plenty of ax-grinding against Warmonger Joe. You know it's bad because it lacks fake-breathless leaks and is totally unpaywalled.

Sadly, none of these three updates answers my big "why" question, and that is, really a two parter: Why didn't Putin see this in advance and thus, why didn't he nip it in the bud earlier? For that, we go to ...

Update five: John Helmer expects Prigozhin's fate will be similar to former Yukos boss Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Unlike Alexander Litvinenko, he did not take a Polonium 210 bullet in the ass, but was stripped of most of his assets before being pushed into exile. If Prig in Belarus is in house arrest, Helmer insinuates that the only way he gets out of that is by accepting similar punishment willingly.

The other biggie is that Helmer insinuates Shoigu and Gerasimov may stick. He also notes that, contra western triumphalism, Shoigu reportedly was IN Rostov, and knew of Prigozhin's plans in advance, at least the broad outline. So, while not fully a "rope enough to hang himself" scenario, it's something to that effect. It sounds conspiratorial, though; why wouldn't Prig be arrested before causing as much trouble as he did? Or, get the Litvinenko treatment?

Since Helmer's claims are based on state and semi-state media, this comes off as possibly being a case of Putin writing himself into the scene, even if he didn't actually know so much in advance, as in, in the wonderful book "The Commissar Vanishes," Stalin's photo retouchers often wrote him into the scene in pictures from 1917-18. Moon of Alabama goes down the same path, claiming that "orders were obviously given for everyone to stand down." Cuing Jeff St. Clair and his "more credulous precincts of the left" bon mot.

That said, since Helmer has a background of conspiratorial thinking, let's turn it on its head. Both Khodorkovsky and Prigozhin are half-Jewish. And, Chris Cook of Gorilla Radio, going by his Twitter, with as of the time of typing this, his 10th tweet being a retweet of a claim that Universal Basic Income is going to be enacted by a fake banking crash, engineered by banksters, using "Central Banking Digital Coupons"? Oy. Half a dozen tweets below that is a retweet of RFK Jr at his antivaxxer worst, claiming the CIA conducted vaccine-based medical torture.

I have now edited and rewritten these updates into a new piece about, thanks again Jeff St Clair, Prigozhin and the more credulous precincts of the left.

Update five: At Unherd, Aris Rousinnos notes that Shiogu and Gerasimov have yet to be visible again. Also there, Edward Luttwak blames Putin for being dumb enough and bureaucratic enough to accept the duo's original war plan.

Meanwhile,  hypocritical chuds at Reddit's r/politics leave up this MSM/Nat-sec Nutsack fellating post even though it clearly violates rules about not clearly being about US politics. (The moderator chuds hauled down a post of mine two weeks ago about Ellsberg's death, claiming it was in violation even though I tied it to weaponization of the Espionage Act.) The great majority of posters and commenters there are in the same vein: #BlueAnon chuds. Also, none of my comments there show up on my personal feed, which makes me wonder if I'm being shadow-banned.